The guys at Vine Line got me a ticket to this year's convention.
Because they're awesome.
In the past I always arrived late to that Saturday morning meeting with the GM and Manager, ended up standing in the back of the crowded ballroom getting pictures of the backs of Cub fan's heads.
I thought with Theo Epstein, Jed Hoyer, Dale Sveum and Shiraz Rehman, I should finally be on time.
Instead of the Hilton on Michigan, it's at the Sheraton on the river this year.
Phones work here which is fabulous, but... new layout.
"Can you tell me where ballrooms 9, 10, and 11 are?" I ask the lady with the Cubs badge.
She points to the numbers above the doors in the lobby.
There are also little halls that run between the groups of ballrooms, and I walk down one of those.
I'm an hour early, and there are only about 50 people in here so I grab a seat 2 rows back, excusing myself to step past a number of fans in the row.
After 20 minutes, the Ricketts all walk in and they're talking to people which is cool.
But then they suddenly Len Kasper jumps up onstage and introduces them.
What the hell?
I look at the program, it must be the Ricketts Family Forum.
I've been sitting in the wrong room for a half hour?
And now I... I can't just rudely walk out because I'm right up front.
But this is a q&a thing only - no real speech from the Ricketts.
Question askers line up behind a mic.
I listen to one and then I actually say to the woman next to me, "Weeeeellll, guess I'll go get in line now. And go ask my question. To the Ricketts."
Every time I step over someone's legs in the row, I whisper, "S'cuse me. Gotta go ask my question."
Then I sauntered to the end of the line and hauled ass.
I'm such an idiot.
Okay so now it's onto the Theo thing.
I'm still actually early and get an even better seat than I had.
They're a really impressive group.
You end up with the feeling that no matter the room, they'd be the smartest guys there.
So there were lots of questions and I can't make "actual" quotes, but I took some notes and you'll get the gist.
The Dempster trade thing was a semantics error.
When Hoyer said Dempster was "in the office", that didn't mean actually in the same office with Hoyer.
It meant Dempster was in the office (building) just in case they needed to discuss something quickly, Hoyer would summon him.
Hoyer also got a mild laugh talking about the "botched" trades, comparing it to buying a house.
Like if something goes wrong with the inspection or whatever, do you say you botched buying a house?
I kind of buy that.
Randy Bush identified Nick Struck as a pitcher he thought was on a faster track.
Theo spoke at length about the "Cubs Way", which I'd only ever thought of as a concept.
But it's apparently a couple hundred-page manual with everything from batting philosophy to how to act off the field that every player no matter the level gets to read and...live by.
Sveum grunted that he'd never gotten anything like it when he was playing.
(It's awesome when you've got Sveum and Epstein in the same room - if they starred in a 70's tv cop show, it would be called "Pinetar and Vorp".)
More Theo: the "mindset of a small market team with the resources of big market" thing - that they'll build the team and when the time is right will have the juice to go get the player(s) to put them over the top.
Somebody asked about the draft and Theo began the answer with the gif above.
They talked about leaving Peoria for Kane County so that the players there can get used to Chicago and Chicago can get used to those young players.
Some other funny stuff from a guy "representing the senior citizens" who "don't have alot of time".
All in all, a pretty cool event.
And... the emotional bond being created between us and the new team, don't you think this is unique?
When teams like the Dodgers are being put together overnight with money?
Once the Cubs are truly competitive, don't you think it'll feel more rewarding to have grown with them rather than buying them from Miami?
I know, we don't have any choice.
But if this makes any sense... it seems like more than most fans we'll get to root for our team rather than just our logo.
So...GROW you kids.
Couple things from the Cubs Convention
The guys at Vine Line got me a ticket to this year's convention.
Cardinal way #47
See ya on parrot chat
In what was probably the last start for RHSP Jeremy Null at EXST...
Intrasquad game this morning on Field #5 at Riverview Baseball Complex:
4.1 IP, 7 H, 3 R (3 ER), 0 BB, 2 K, 1 HR, 2 WP, 1 GIDP, 5/4 GO/AO, 75 pitches (50 strikes)
Next stop is likely either South Bend or Myrtle Beach (TBD)
There does seem to be something funky about closers pitching in non-save situations -- they never seem to be as effective. But, to your point, there could not have been a save situation in that game, so why not use your best reliever?
Heyward getting the night off.
Grand Slammin' Sczcur in RF - La Stella batting 2nd
Your thought: don't pitch Rondon at all, since a save can't happen in extra innings at home.
Maddon's thought: might as well pitch him now, because there's no later.
It looked like the baserunner might have screened Russell some though it's still a play he should have made.
I wasn't thrilled with the use of Rondon in that situation. In save situations opponents have a 77 OPS. In non-save situations it's a 116 OPS. We had other relievers for that spot we could have used.
I'm not sure if it's his normal swing but it's obvious he can hit and he's always hit for power just not HRs so if it is his normal swing there's something else going on.
This article from spring training said he was trying to pull the ball a lot more:
Oh, thanks. I guess I should actually look at the schedule. Yay, 3-game road trip!
Good call, indeed. This ought to be a good series.
Sorry to nit-pick -- but the games against the Nats this week are at home.
Can't remember a worse weather-start to a season. Yuck.
Basically Russell booted a slam dunk DP grounder letting a run score. But he drove in the tying run in 9th. Just not their day, Rondon notwithstanding.
Didn't see the game, but it sounded like the Cubs gave away 2 runs with poor fielding. Bummer.
Well, it's been a fun diet of Reds, Brewers and Braves, but now the Cubs have to play real teams in May (Pirates, Nationals, SF, Cards and Dodgers) -- hope we are all still smiling when we wake up on Memorial Day.
He does seem out of synch. His body seems to start forward, then his arms sort of try to catch up -- if that's his normal swing, he will never hit for power. It's an all-arms slasher swing, but the timing seems off.
He is currently slugging .256 -- I realize the weather has been bad, but that's epically bad. Currently 92nd out of 94 qualified NL batters. Yikes.
Weird home stand -- 3-1, with 2 rainouts, vs. two teams that will lose 100 games. Feels oddly disappointing.
Miserable baseball weather all week -- hopefully better weather will get the bats going. Not just walking, but actually hitting.
That strike call on LaSterlla was terrible